How Do I Navigate My Business Through the 'New Normal’?
Every business is currently going through a period of unprecedented transition. In fact, so is every individual and household. It would be difficult to find something that has not been affected by the global coronavirus outbreak in some way.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lockdown is slowly easing, businesses are opening up their doors and beginning the navigation into the ‘new normal’.
There are steps you can take to ensure your business is in the best position to move forward through the post-pandemic landscape and with a second wave of the pandemic looking ever more likely, you can arm yourself with the best defences for if the virus and lockdown strikes again.
Beef up Your Policies
The easing of lockdown and the lifting of some travel restrictions has seen a rise in bookings of last minute holidays. However, with the UK’s ’Safe List’ of countries and the coronavirus regulations changing everyday, some of us have been forced to self isolate on return to the UK resulting in extended periods away from work. As an employer, ensure self-isolation have been addressed in your annual leave, and sick leave policies. Outlining the procedures to be followed provides clarity for all parties and keeps everyone informed so they can make the best decisions. As both an employee and employer, stay abreast of the countries and territories that returning from will require you to self isolate. You can view the current list of exempted territories here.
The imposing of lockdown saw a record number of people being forced to work at home. As a business owner, it is crucial that you outline the process for home working and including a dedicated coronavirus section will ensure all employees are briefed ahead of time should you be forced to down tools once more.
Get Some Training
If you are setting up a new company, make sure you understand your obligations as a director or shareholder of that company. This includes in the event of a sale, insolvency or even the unfortunate event of a winding up. As a director, you’re responsible for a company’s records, accounts and performance even where these responsibilities are delegated. Completing a course of formal director training will ensure you know your role and what is required of you. Understanding your role will also help to make the process of being a director more enjoyable as you will be able to navigate the journey with confidence and armed with all the relevant knowledge.
Increase the Intensity of Communication
The global pandemic has been just that, global. From the top to the bottom of an organisation, everyone has been affected in some way. The pandemic has flattened organisations and highlighted the need for increased communication. There have been more frequent board meetings, numerous zoom calls and tons of emails. As we transition into the new version of the business world, it is important to keep the lines of communications between members of an organisation open. Increased communication will help the business as a whole to navigate the new normal successfully and efficiently. As an employer, touching base with employees regularly is an important part of building a loyal and engaged workforce and helps to ensure that the wellbeing needs of employees are being met, including mental health. As an employee, communicating with your employers is a great way of ensuring you are managing your own mental health as best you can. This guide on ‘How to Support Mental Health at Work’ by the Mental Health Foundation is a great place to start.
Focus on Your Goals
Keep an eye on the long term. It can be easy to get stuck in crisis management mode and lose sight of how the decisions you make right now might affect your business in the long term. Stay true to your company ethos and goals. Many would-be entrepreneurs who started their company with the goal to help others may feel disheartened as the pandemic casts a shadow over the economic landscape. However, that specific need that you identified and that gap in the market have not gone away. There are so many people waiting for your product or service, just the way you deliver it and there are resources available to help you do it. Holly Tucker (founder of Not on The High Street) launched SME SOS, a free resource to empower small businesses with the latest information and highlight the help available to them. Many councils still have discretionary grants available to local businesses - get in touch with them to get the support and guidance you need to continue. Find your local authority with links to register for small business grants here.
The new global landscape will be a challenge for everyone to navigate, but the resources to help us all are out there waiting to be tapped in to.